The 50-over World Cup has witnessed some of the finest moments in the history of the game. And it has also been the stage for some of the most spectacular falls.
As we prepare for the 2019 showpiece event in England, we take a look at some key moments that have long lived in the memory of fans, having changed the course of the match and even the game of cricket itself.
1999 World Cup: Herschelle Gibbs drops Steve Waugh
Arguably the biggest drop in the history of the game. Australia’s World Cup campaign was stuttering in their must-win Super Six clash against South Africa at Leeds. Chasing 272 to secure their spot in the semi-finals, Australia were 48-3. When Waugh was on 56, the Australia skipper flicked Lance Klusener to mid-wicket where Herschelle Gibbs took the catch and in the process of throwing the ball up to celebrate, lost control and spilled it. Waugh smashed an unbeaten 120 and the rest is history.
1983 World Cup: Kapil Dev catches Viv Richards
The West Indies had won the first two World Cups. They were the undisputed heavyweight champions of the world and looked set for their third straight crown, having dismissed India for 183 in the final at Lord’s. Despite losing early wickets, Viv Richards looked like taking the Windies home. But while batting in 33, Viv top edged a pull off Madan Lal to mid-wicket, where India skipper Kapil Dev sprinted back from mid-on and took a fine catch over his shoulder. India won the final by 43 runs and in many ways, that catch redefined cricket.
1987 World Cup: Mike Gatting’s reverse sweep
The final at the Eden Gardens seemed to be in the bag for England, who were well placed at 135-2 chasing Australia’s 253. Mike Gatting was batting on 41 and Bill Athey on half-century. Then Australia skipper Alan Border came up to bowl his left-arm spin and the match turned on its head.
Gatting – for some reason – decided to reverse sweep Border and could only manage a top edge that ballooned to the keeper. Border took another scalp as Australia held on to a seven-run win – the closest yet in World Cup history – in front of 100,000 fans in Kolkata.
1975: Viv Richards runs out Ian Chappell
The inaugural World Cup final had no shortage of drama. The Aussies were chasing 292 in 60 overs against the Windies and were in cruise mode on 81-1. Then a young Viv Richards changed the narrative through his brilliance in the field. Alan Turner and Greg Chappell were sent back via direct hits. But the Aussies staged a recovery thanks to a fifty from captain Ian Chappell. But it was to be Richards’ final.
After a slight midfield from Richards at midwicket, Chappell started and then hesitated and that gave Viv enough time to send a pinpoint throw to the bowler’s end that found the batsman short. West Indies emerged victorious by 17 runs.
2007: Adam Gilchrist’s squash ball
One of the most daring – and controversial for some – moves in a World Cup final. Australia batted first against Sri Lanka in the 2007 showpiece in Barbados. It was a typical day at the office for the world-conquering Aussies as Adam Gilchrist blasted 149 from 104 balls that took the total to 281-4 in 38 overs in a rain-reduced match that proved well beyond Sri Lanka.
After reaching his ton, Gilchrist acknowledged the fans and pointed to his left glove, which had an odd lump in it. Turn out, Gilly had stuck half a squash ball in his glove to help him grip the bat better.
Pakistan chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said the experience of left-arm seamers Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz was the main reason for their late inclusion in the World Cup squad.
Both left-arm quicks were not part of the World Cup plans but after Pakistan lost the five-match series against England 4-0 with the hosts posting more than 340 in all matches, the men in green went for the tried and tested Amir and Wahab.
“Mohammad Amir was not included on our initial list of players. We couldn’t see him bowl during the series against England. But he is a senior bowler, he has vast experience of bowling in English conditions and that’s why we have selected him,” Inzamam explained.
“Wahab Riaz is one of our senior bowlers and that’s why we have given him a chance. He understands reverse swing and the best use of the old ball. We realise that there is a lack of experienced bowlers in our team so we included him in our squad as a senior bowler.”
Also, leg-spinner Shadab Khan is also in the squad after recovering from hepatitis.
England all-rounder Moeen Ali has appealed to the home crowd to not take things too far against David Warner and Steven Smith during the upcoming World Cup .
The Australian batsmen are returning after their one-year-bans for the ball-tampering episode last year. The World Cup marks their return to the international stage. This also means that they will be playing in England for the first time after the incident.
Give the fierce rivalry between the English and Aussies, both are expected to be on the radar of local fans in England.
Ali hopes that fans keep it all in good humour and not make it personal.
“I really hope they don’t get too much stick. I want them to enjoy the series,” Ali said to the Guardian.
“If you have to, keep it funny, not personal. We all make mistakes. We are human beings and we have feelings. I know deep down they are probably really good people. I just hope they get treated decently. I just want the cricket to be spoken about.”
Earlier, Australia coach Justin Langer had said Smith and Warner will require ‘sensitive monitoring’ over the next few months that includes the World Cup and Ashes in England.
“There’s not too many I’ve met in my life who like being booed or heckled or disliked so… they’re human beings,” Langer said.